Practice recommendation issued by Information Commissioner

The information commissioner has criticised a Whitehall department for the way it handles information requests.

Richard Thomas made a formal practice recommendation on Monday in relation to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (CLG) handling of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

The advice concerns the department’s failures in carrying out internal reviews – required if someone complains about an answer to an FoI request - within 20 working days, or 40 days if there are exceptional circumstances.

An audit by the commissioner reported that there was “a significant backlog of internal reviews”, some of which were more than 400 working days old, even after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had bought the problem to the department’s attention.

Communities faces FoI backlog (Whitehall & Westminster World, 10 November 2008)